Clothe yourselves in compassion, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience.” (Colossians 3:12-13)

Dear Friends,

While I love church weddings, on Saturday afternoon with a roaring ocean as our wedding march, the soft sands to cushion our barefoot steps, and the sea air to fill our lungs, there was no doubt that the power of God’s mighty love was very present as I had the great privilege of officiating at a wedding at the Jersey Shore. I love officiating at weddings mostly because if a priest is present it’s because the couple has deliberately chosen to be married in the eyes of God. A marriage with God in the center just has a better chance. With God as the anchor in a marriage, as the very being to turn to in times of trouble and in times of thankfulness, the load is better balanced. ¬†Clothed in beautiful wedding garb, splendidly beautiful and handsome, the couple gathered with a bounty of attendants ready to support them in their changed life with God in Christ as their foundation.

On Sunday we’ll be looking at another kind of wedding in the story Jesus tells of a king who holds a wedding banquet for his son. The king extends three invitations. The first two invitations are received with rejection and violence. The final invitation is accepted by those least likely to be invited to a king’s wedding banquet, as well as those likely: the bad and the good. The story is told from Matthew’s gospel as a parable of judgment. God in Christ extends the invitation to feast at God’s wedding banquet table of love, grace and mercy. With the Roman Empire destroying Jerusalem and its holy temple, Matthew’s gospel is written with a certainty in kingdom living that must involve a changed life. We’re called to dress the part, clothing ourselves in “compassion, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience” (Colossians 3:12-13). More certainly, may we “clothe ourselves in love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony.”

We don’t particularly like to think of our God as a judging God. But, as one commentator mentions, “sometimes a word of judgment is also a word of consolation.” And, it seems these days in our famine flooded, fire filled, battle threatened world, it may just be time to renew our commitment to the invitation to kingdom living. We can be grateful to God for inviting us to GROW as Epiphany, the church on the corner where God loves us all, no exceptions. At the same time, as Jesus tells this story of kingdom living, we’re held accountable.

Perhaps it is we need to dig deeper into our commitment to kingdom living. How are we not just dressing the part, but truly living the part? What separates us from the life Jesus intends for us? God in Christ extends the invitation, sets the banquet table, and adorns us with love, grace and mercy. Are we ready to have God as the center of our lives?

Accept God’s invitation. Attend worship regularly. Participate in Episcopal 101 Sundays from 11:30-12:30 and grow deeper in the faith and in our knowledge of the Episcopal Church. Wednesday nights from 7:00-8:30 women gather to enjoy Beth Moore’s study of the book of Daniel. Sunday nights we gather with kingdom dwellers from other traditions as we learn Science and Religion from resident scholar John Rybicki. Give abundantly of your ChefBoyRDee mini meals, granola bars and mini chicken noodle soups to supply the Food4Thought each month, supplying 200 meals to Fairfax County school kids. May you find you’re adorning yourself in a Christ centered life!

Thanks be to God for surrounding us with opportunities for living the kingdom life!

See you Sunday if not before!

Many blessings,

Hillary